By Gerald Walsh ©
Starting a new job can be exciting and stressful at the same time. And it’s natural for doubts to creep in. Will you like your new job? Will your co-workers like you? Can you do the job? Will you fit into their culture? How can you make a good first impression?
But the transition to a new job does not have to be full of tension and anxiety. With careful planning and the right attitude, you can easily make a smooth career change.
1. Think about how you dress. This might be a good time to revamp your wardrobe so you dress according to the company norm.
2. Come to work early, stay late, and don’t call in sick. It’s important to demonstrate good work ethic and that you are not a “clock watcher.”
3. Introduce yourself to everybody and learn your co-workers’ names quickly. If you forget someone’s name, simply say, “I’m sorry but I’ve forgotten your name.”
4. Sort out the office politics. But don’t align yourself with any one group. Instead stay above the fray and build your own social network by associating with many groups and networks across the entire organization.
5. Ask for help when you need it. You are not expected to know everything from the start. If you don’t understand instructions from your boss, ask for clarification.
6. Ask good questions and listen more than you talk. Adopt an attitude that you know almost nothing even if you were brought in to make a change.
7. Avoid comparing your old company to your new company unless all your stories are about how much better your new company is – in which case it is fine to compare.
8. Invite your co-workers to lunch or coffee to find out about their jobs and to start building a personal relationship with them.
9. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Remember, at this point, you are the new kid on the block. A little humility will go a long way. If they want your advice, they will ask for it.
10. Learn the behavioural norms of the office. You are the one who is expected to conform to these behaviours, not the other way around. Never forget: If you take the last cup of coffee, make a fresh pot. Don’t take other people’s food from the fridge. And if you caused the paper jam in the printer, fix it.
11. Ask for regular feedback from your boss. Find out how you’re doing and ask for suggestions on how you can improve. You will be better off if you deal with problems early and stop them from becoming a (bad) habit.
12. Don’t boast about your background or past accomplishments. It was fine to do this in the interview – that’s what you should do. But your co-workers will not be impressed. Don’t start this relationship off on a bad foot.
13. Plan your arrival. If possible, take some time off before starting your new job. That will give you time to rest and to sort out transportation, child care, and any other personal matters related to your new job.
14. Be respectful of the person you are replacing. Regardless of why the previous person left (fired, retired, quit), you should never speak unkindly about that person, nor let others around you do so.
15. Use this as an opportunity to make other changes in your life. Moving on to your next career chapter could be the perfect time to make other changes in your life, such as re-focusing on your health and fitness or building new relationships you had avoided for years.
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 15,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.